Sciomancy (also called sciamancy) is a form of divination through shadows, their size, shape, and changing appearance.


Derived from the Greek skiā (‘shadow’) and manteia (‘prophecy’)


Shadows were believed to represent the soul. In that aspect sciomancy is sometimes referred as an early form of necromancy or communicating with the ghosts of the dead.

“The ancient Chaldeans and Grecians, if in times of War fearing to be driven away, or banished, they would hide their Treasure, would mark the place no otherwise than propose to themselves a certain day, hour and minute of the year, and did observe in what place the Sun or Moon should cast their shadow, and there did bury and hide their Treasure. This Art they call Sciomancy, i.e. the Art of Shadowing. By these Shadowings many Arts have had their ground, and many hid things have been revealed, and all Spirits and Astral bodies are known”. Paracelsus – Nine Books Of the Nature of Things (1674) ix. 287


A common method used to perform sciomancy was to observe the size, shapes, and changing appearance of the shadows of someone, thus drawing a prophetic conclusion. It was considered a very bad omen to project a headless shadow (or no shadow at all). According to legend, such a person will lose their life within the course of the current year.